Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee

Evelyne de Leeuw – Special Advisor

Director of the Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluations (CHETRE), and the Healthy Urban Environments (HUE) Collaboratory – University of New South Wales

Professor de Leeuw holds a Masters in Health Policy and Administration (University of Maastricht, The Netherlands, 1985), MPH at the University of California at Berkeley in comparative health systems research (1986) and a PhD in health political science (Maastricht, 1989).

Since its initiation in 1986, she has been active in the international Healthy Cities movement. From 1992 to 2001 she held the position of Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research on Healthy Cities at the University of Maastricht. She assists WHO regionally and globally in Healthy City evaluation reporting, most recently in special issues of Health Promotion International and the Journal of Urban Health. She is known for her strong engagement with local health policies and politics and is a welcome speaker at both community and research events.

Professor De Leeuw has a reputation in building public health curricula in tertiary education around the world, establishing Schools of Public Health in The Netherlands, Denmark, advising such endeavours in Kazakhstan, Estonia and El Salvador, and negotiating a world class public health programme in the Medical School at Deakin University (Geelong, Australia).

She has been involved in WHO health promotion endeavours since the 1986 Ottawa Conference and attended all subsequent international health promotion conferences; at the fourth one (Jakarta, 1997) and eight one (Helsinki, 2013) she acted as conference rapporteur.

Evelyne currently holds appointments as  Visiting Professor, Université de Montréal; and Visiting Professor, Maastricht University (The Netherlands). She is WHO European Research Director for Healthy Cities. She was a member of global scientific committees of  the 2019 and 2020 IUHPE and Healthy Cities conferences and member of the IUHPE Executive Board. She is currently the Chair of the Global Scientific Committee of IUHPE2022.

Helen Pineo – Special Advisor

Lecturer in Sustainable and Healthy Built Environments in the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London

Dr Helen Pineo MRTPI is an urban planner and academic who specializes in healthy and sustainable urban development. Her research focuses on urban design, planning and governance in relation to urban health and sustainability. Helen has investigated the development and use of urban health metrics. She developed the THRIVES Framework (Towards Healthy uRbanism: InclusiVe, Equitable, Sustainable) which provides a new way to conceptualize the health and wellbeing impacts of urban design and planning.

Prior to entering academia in 2018, she worked as an urban planner for over a decade on new developments and planning policy, in the UK and internationally. She has worked at the Building Research Establishment, Local Government Association and in national and local government in the areas of sustainable urbanization, health, climate change and low carbon energy. Since 2015 she has been a Design Council Built Environment Expert. She is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and she holds numerous expert advisory roles in government and industry.

Kristen Boulard

Urban Planner and Population Health Assessment, Brantford Ontario

Kristen Boulard is the Urban Planner at the Brant County Health Unit located in Brantford, Ontario. She has previously worked in both the private and public sectors in Development Planning and Urban Design in the Hamilton and Burlington Region. Kristen has also been very involved in local community building, walkability, and active and safe school travel. Kristen’s role at BCHU is to plan for and promote the development of healthy communities for residents of all ages through the development of Official Plan policies relating to climate change and health and leading a Climate Change and Health Vulnerability Assessment for the Health Unit.

Kristen is a professional planner with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson University.

Spencer Croil

Deputy Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Planning and Community Development, Coaldale, Alberta

Spencer is responsible for overseeing the drafting, implementation, and monitoring of the procedures, policies, regulations, and processes that relate to the growth and change of Coaldale’s built environment. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of planning and development, his role also focuses on ensuring that growth and change is undertaken in a logical, efficient, and fiscally responsible manner, and that it is responsive to the needs and desires of the Town’s stakeholders (residents, businesses, organizations, and so on). S

Spencer is currently working with Alberta Health Services’ Healthy Communities by Design south region committee to pilot a tool for collecting public perspectives on how healthy communities are in Alberta. His academic and work background includes a primary focus on urban design and community planning from an academic perspective, and community planning and related services from a career perspective. He also instructs sessionally in the spring and fall at the University of Lethbridge, specifically instructing both planning/design courses offered by the U of L.

Gurneet Dhami

Graduate student, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Gurneet Dhami is a dietetic professional pursuing her Masters in Applied Human Nutrition at Mount Saint Vincent University in Kjipuktuk (Halifax) on the East Coast. She is an emerging researcher with expertise in community-based projects, food security and health equity. Gurneet has presented her anti-racism research in dietetics at conferences, workshops, podcasts and panels. She is currently leading a project with her community in collaboration with the York Region  Food Network with the formation of a youth advocacy group focused on sustainability and food justice. Her interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and systems thinking approaches will guide her advisory role.

Helen Doyle

Chair, Ontario Public Health Association Environmental Health Workgroup

Helen works with public health partners to promote and advocate for action on environmental health issues including: climate change, air quality, water quality, housing, built and natural environments and children’s environmental health. She is a part-time faculty with Conestoga College’s School of Health & Life Sciences – Bachelor of Environmental Public Health Program, teaching the Community Health and Healthy Built Environments course.

Helen is a certified Public Health Inspector with over 35 years experience in environmental public health. As Manager of Healthy Environments with York Region Public Health until her retirement in 2018, Helen worked with a team of public health professionals leading initiatives including: a climate change & health vulnerability assessment, a built environment and health strategy, public health & land-use planning partnerships, and research on traffic-related air pollution, urban heat islands and indoor environments such as radon exposures.

Helen is a Board of Directors’ member with a number of non-profit organizations including: the Ontario Public Health Association, the Canadian Health Association for Sustainability and Equity, and the Windfall Ecology Centre – a Green Communities Canada non-profit environmental organization. In 2020, Helen was appointed to the Town of New Tecumseth’s Environmental Advisory Committee and is a member of the New Tecumseth Climate Action Group.

Charito Gailling

Project Manager, Healthy Built Environments | Population and Public Health, BC Centre for Disease Control

Charito is a project manager with the Population & Public Health at the BCCDC. As a team, their goal is to prevent chronic disease and injury by addressing broader social determinants such as food security and healthy eating, health equity, healthy communities and schools, and the built environment. She works very collaboratively with the regional health authorities, Ministry of Health, and various community based organizations. Charito manages the healthy built environment (HBE) program area, with a focus is on the ways in which population health and individual lifestyle choices are influenced by the built environment.

Antonio Gómez‑Palacio


Antonio is a practicing urban planner at DIALOG, with a keen interest in the interface between wellbeing and the built environment. He has  collaborated with Conference Board of Canada and others for the publication of the Community Wellbeing Framework, and is a member of the National Roundtable of Health and Design Professionals currently working on the second version of the Community Wellbeing Framework.

His professional experience and research focuses on the intersection of architecture, planning, and urban design. He’s internationally recognized for transforming cities into vibrant urban places that respond to their social, economic, and environmental contexts. Antonio has worked on a wide range of projects focused on urban intensification, master planning, mixed-use, transit, heritage, economic development, and sustainability. His project work includes light-rail transit (LRT) projects for Mississauga, Brampton, and Edmonton, downtown plans for Halifax and Regina, and campus plans for Seneca College and Laurentian University.

In addition to impacting communities through his professional practice, Antonio has acted as chair of the Toronto Society of Architects and the City of Vaughan’s Design Review Panel. He is involved with several industry initiatives and organizations, including the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and the Canadian Urban Transit Association.

Laura Minet

Postdoctoral Fellow, Earth Sciences and Civil & Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto

Laura works on a variety of projects looking at the impacts of traffic on greenhouse gas emissions, urban air quality, population exposure and health. Laura has recently collaborated with the advocacy group Environmental Defence as well as Ontario Public Health Association to highlight how electric vehicles and cleaner trucks can help reduce pollution, tackle climate change, improve health and save lives in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Rachel Mitchell

Climate Change Coordinator, Engineering and Public Works, Town of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Rachel coordinates sustainability initiatives, climate mitigation planning, and community engagement to promote climate conscious behaviours. She is working to develop and implement a local climate action plan to drive emission reductions in New Glasgow and improve community climate resilience.

Rachel brings extensive experience in climate change and sustainability. Prior to joining the Town of New Glasgow, Rachel worked in climate resilience and adaptation planning in public health in Ontario. Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from StFX University, and completed her Master’s in Environmental Studies in the Environment, Resources and Sustainability program from the University of Waterloo. Rachel is currently enrolled in the Asset Management Professional Program at Northern Lakes College, offered through funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Charlene Nielsen

Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Public Health and Pediatrics, University of Alberta

Charlene is a geographer dedicated to defending the “health of the land” for all by developing GIS solutions through integrative collaborations on human health, habitat, and air and water quality. She has an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Medical Sciences – Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, where she has the privilege of collaborating with amazing researchers on the environmental health aspects of adverse birth outcomes, childhood cancers, asthma, congenital heart defects, infant gut microbiota, and autism spectrum disorders. Her current postdoctoral project addresses climate change health impacts on at-risk populations by modeling and mapping large databases of health outcomes and sources of environmental exposures. Charlene organizes the annual UofA GIS Day, has lectured in GIS, environmental health, and conservation, and is a member of URISA, CAG, AAG, inVIVO Planetary Health, WCHRI, and of course CANUE.

Olimpia Pantelimon

Senior Planning Advisor for Alberta Municipal Affairs

Olimpia is a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), and a registered professional planner in Alberta and Quebec with over 20 years of comprehensive and management experience across Canada. She serves as Senior Planning Advisor for Alberta Municipal Affairs since 2008 and worked previously on wide strategic initiatives as Principal Planner for the City of Edmonton, several municipalities in Quebec, and as Coordinator Planning and Lands for the Government of Nunavut. After a Bachelor of Science and a Master in Urban Planning from the University of Montreal, Olimpia is completing a PhD in Public Health at the University of Alberta integrating planning and health policies.

Selected on the CIP National Affairs Committee since 2008, she was appointed for a second mandate as Chair CIP Healthy Communities Committee to facilitate a national policy initiative. She was also the Healthy Communities representative for APPI and OUQ.  Olimpia was nominated as 2010 Expert Peer Reviewer for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund and for the newest Municipal Climate Innovation Program. She served on the Board of Directors with The Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE) and remains on the University of Alberta City Region Studies Center Advisory Board.

Nathan Roth

Urban Planner and Project Manager, City of Edmonton,  Alberta

Nathan Roth is a design-minded urban planner and project manager, currently with the Open Space Planning & Design Section of the City of Edmonton. His professional experience includes community planning and design projects with Indigenous Nations and Communities, strategic policy development for citywide green networks of public parks and ecological areas, public realm and urban design, communicating urban development and open space network data trends for policy makers, and most recently managing the planning and design phases of large-scale public park and open space site-specific development projects. Nathan has expertise and training in community, stakeholder, and Indigenous engagement. He holds a Master of Planning degree from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor of Arts in Urban & Regional Studies from the University of Lethbridge, and studied architecture in-between degrees at Dalhousie and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Olga Shcherbyna

Corporate Social Planner, City of Delta, British Columbia

Olga Shcherbyna is a social planner with over 12 years of experience building inclusive and equitable communities. Mrs. Shcherbyna believes in planning with communities vs. planning for communities and brings this motto to any project she works on. Mrs. Shcherbyna co-authored two book chapters and is a guest lecturer at the Langara College Applied Planning Program.  She currently works as a Corporate Social Planner with the City of Delta, leading its social planning policy and community development work.

Mikael St-Pierre

National Coordinator – Active Neighbourhoods Canada | Centre d’écologie urbaine de Montréal

Mikael St-Pierre is an urban planner and designer at the Montréal Urban Ecology Centre. His practice is centered on community town planning and participatory democracy. Mikael is National Coordinnator for the Active Neighbourhoods Canada network, an initiative that aims equitable access to healthy built environments for all Canadian communities. In 2016, Mikael was identified as one of Canada’s 20 Emerging Innovators by the American Express Leadership Institute and Ashoka. He is also lecturer in the Urban Studies department at Université du Québec à Montréal.

Stephanie Prince Ware

Public Health Agency of Canada

Stephanie is a Research Scientist with the Centre for Surveillance and Applied Research at the Public Health Agency of Canada and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa. She has a BSc in Human Kinetics and a PhD in Population Health both from the University of Ottawa and an MSc in Epidemiology from Queen’s University. Dr. Prince Ware completed a two-year CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the Public Health Agency of Canada focusing on sedentary behaviour surveillance. Dr. Prince Ware’s research is focused on the measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, determinants of these health behaviours with a focus on the built environment, and health behaviour interventions including the evaluation of natural experiments.

Jessica Wu

Planner, Planning and Economic Development Branch, York Region, Ontario

Jessica Wu is a Registered Professional Planning practicing in Ontario, Canada. She has worked in private and public sectors on initiatives related to land development, healthy built environment, housing, density visualizations and complete community assessment. Currently a Planner with York Region, she is working with a team of cross-sector partners to develop a complete, healthy community assessment and mapping tool.

Shelby Yamamoto

Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta

Shelby Yamamoto is an epidemiologist with a particular interest in exploring environmental factors that impact vulnerable populations. Her research, based at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health, focuses primarily on the impacts of air pollution and climate change.

She is currently involved in projects that will: create an interactive online tool to map climate change-related chronic disease as a way to inform public health policies; create an interactive, web-based platform for stakeholders to identify vulnerable communities (e.g. older adults, immigrant) and co-develop climate change toolkits aimed at vulnerable populations; and generate critical local data about community climate change vulnerability and resilience that can be used to inform future short, medium and long-term planning activities.

Umayangga Yogalingam

Research and Knowledge Translation Lead, The Sandbox Project | Executive Director, Young Canadians Roundtable on Health

Umayangga Yogalingam is a recent Masters of Public Health graduate in the Social and Behavioural Health Sciences stream from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She currently works as the Research and Knowledge Translation Lead at The Sandbox Project, a national charity focused on facilitating collaboration between child- and youth-related organizations to improve the health and well-being of children across Canada. Umayangga also co-leads the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health (YCRH), a national youth-led, youth-run advisory committee dedicated to be Canada’s strong youth voice in issues relating to child and youth health. She is involved in multiple other organizations including the Tamil Health Association as a Principal Investigator looking at mental health in Tamil women living in the Greater Toronto Area, the SAAAC Autism Centre as a Program Facilitator, and South Asian Health Research Hub as a community advisory member. Umayangga’s interests include mental health, health equity, environmental health, and the impact of race, culture and ethnicity on health. Umayangga is excited to be a part of the BEST Advisory Committee!

Paul Young

Public Space Workshop | Landscape Architect

Paul is a registered landscape architect and an experienced facilitator. He has over 20 years experience in urban design, streetscape and park design. Paul has a master’s degree in urban planning and over 15 years of strategic planning and facilitation on planning matters. Paul Young’s urban design experience is complemented by 20 years of working in health promotion at the South Riverdale Community Health Centre in Toronto.

Paul leads Public Space Workshop (PSW), which focuses on planning for active transportation and for parklands and open space. PSW also conducts community and stakeholder engagement to support active transportation. At PSW we believe that sustainable and healthy communities emerge from a planning process that involves numerous stakeholders including the general public.  We strive to ensure projects become interactive learning opportunities for both participants, planners and designers.